Book Review: On Pills And Needles

The Synopsis on the back of the book:

How could this have happened? How could this sixteen-year-old, who less than a week earlier had left home on a typical Friday morning for school, now be flirting with death by overdose?

When Rick Van Warner found himself searching abandoned buildings for his missing son, he had no idea that the synthetic, pill-form heroin that had snared his teen was already killing so many. In the years of pain and heartache that followed as he tried to save his son from addiction, Van Warner discovered what the public has just recently become aware of: prescription opioids are so addictive that even short-term use can create dependency, igniting an epidemic that now claims nearly 100 American lives each day.

On Pills and Needles is one family’s story, but it is also a wake-up call and crash course in opioid addiction. Through his harrowing personal journey, Van Warner exposes the common causes of opioid addiction, effective and ineffective ways it has been treated, and how families can walk alongside loved ones who are dealing with the daily agony of addiction.

On Pills Needles And Needles

 A true story of how an addiction to Opioids destroyed my family.Opioid-Addiction-Families


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Why I chose this book

The Opioid epidemic has been getting worse as Fentanyl deaths continue to soar. In 2016 alone, 42,000 persons died from Opioid overdose.

For those that might be unfamiliar, Opioids are one of the most powerful painkillers on the market, used to soothe extreme pain. Examples of Opioids include Oxycontin, it is also available through synthetic form by way of Fentanyl. The illegal drug heroin is also an Opioid.

Through this book review I hope to bring attention to this growing problem which has been affecting and destroying many families.

Book Review

Behind the smiles, behind the spoken words of I am doing OK, there are people among us who are hurting. We hide behind a mask, pretending to the world that everything is OK, but are we truly? In a desire to escape reality, many turn to substance abuse to escape their problems if only just for a little while.

On Pills and Needles tells the heart wrenching story of a family battling with their son through Opioid addiction. Eight years of showing continuous love even after relapse after relapse. While I hoped to gather a christian perspective on Opioid addiction, this turned out to be  just the authors story of dealing with addiction within his family. I also felt the story line lacked a complete resolution.

There were times the author questioned, were they too caught up in the whirlwind of life that they failed to give all their kids time and focused attention?

Urine test samples became a regular and so were rehabilitation programs.Can you imagine financially the burden the family went through to help their son through his addiction?

The strained friendships and awkward positions the family found themselves in with a son who would often steal to fund his addiction?

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It is heartbreaking to watch your child not care whether or not he died bur rather only cared about getting high. As a parent, you can only image the blame game that presented itself. “Should I have spent less time focusing on sports, dinner out and events in lieu of family nights at home playing games,” the author questioned at one point.

Hard drugs can alter the brains chemistry. With continuous drug abuse, the addict starts to feel lifeless and depressed. They then reach for larger doses to try and experience the huge high they once had.  You can read more about how the drug affects the brain, through the following article from the National Drug Abuse Institute.

The cord that really struck me from this book, was that the main character suffered with social anxiety and depression. That really brought things home for me, as I too struggle with social anxiety. Social anxiety is a situation where you fear social situations and often go to great lengths to avoid them. You have a fear of been negatively judged by others. While overcoming my social anxiety is a work in progress, it really got me thinking that I too given the right circumstances could have suffered the same fate as the lead character.

Would I Recommend

On Pills and Needles will resonate with families that are hurting, and families with addicts. I would also recommend this book for counsellors or parents of high school or college-aged children who may be interested in learning more about Opioid addiction. It will help you gain perspective on what addiction looks like and how it can affect family and friends. What also resonated with me from this book, was the undeniable love the parents had for their son, despite his constant lies,relapses and financial strain on the family. It reminds me of the love God too has for us, regardless of how we mess up, he still welcomes us back with open arms. Grab your copy of On Pills and Needles.

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Checkout our Book Reviews library for other great christian books for 20 somethings to add to your reading list.



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